Nobel Prize laureate Prof. Dan Shechtman, chairman of the Wolf Foundation, announced the names of the 2020 Wolf Prize laureates on Monday.The Wolf Foundation inaugurated the Wolf Prize in 1978, awarding it nearly annually to academics who have made significant breakthroughs and extraordinary achievements in agriculture, mathematics, medicine, physics, chemistry and the arts. The prize is presented on a rotating basis, usually in four or five of the six categories.The Wolf Prize is the most prestigious international prize awarded in Israel and is considered to be a stepping stone toward a Nobel Prize. Thirty percent of Wolf Prize recipients – including Shechtman, who received the 1999 Wolf Prize in physics – have subsequently been selected for Nobel Prizes, some within a year.The Wolf Foundation works in close cooperation with universities and other academic institutions of higher learning around the world.The prize winners for physics are: Alan H. McDonald of the University of Texas; Pablo Jarillo-Herrero of MIT; and Rafi Bistritzer, a graduate of Tel Aviv University and the Weizmann Institute of Science, currently the algorithm group manager at the Applied Materials, Inc.The winners in medicine are: Emmanuelle Charpentier of the Max Planck Institute in Berlin; and Jennifer Doudna of the University of California at Berkeley.Caroline Dean, a British plant scientist at the John Innes Center in Norwich, England, is the prize winner in the field of agriculture.The mathematics award is shared by Yakov Eliashberg of Stanford University and British mathematician Sir Simon Donaldson of State University of New York at Stony Brook, who received a $3 million prize from Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and Internet entrepreneur Yuri Milner four and a half years ago.Controversial photographer, model and filmmaker Cindy Sherman of New York is the winner in the category of the arts.The announcement of Wolf Prize laureates is traditionally made at the President’s Residence several months before the president makes the formal awards presentation in the Knesset’s Chagall Hall.The prize, initiated by Ricardo Wolf, a German-born inventor and a former Cuban ambassador to Israel, was launched three years after he established the Wolf Foundation. Each prize winner receives a certificate and a monetary award of US$100,000.At Monday’s event announcing the recipients of the prize, President Reuven Rivlin, Education Minister Rafi Peretz and Shechtman each spoke of the importance of the prize and how much the winners have individually and collectively contributed to making the world a better place.Rivlin said the Wolf Prize symbolizes the significance that the State of Israel attaches to scientific progress. As the country’s leading advocate for Jerusalem, Rivlin said it was significant that the award ceremony always takes place in Jerusalem.Peretz said the winning achievements resulted from years of hard work, which comes from limitless curiosity and culminates in extraordinary results.Shechtman said the prize committee was faced with a formidable task because there were so many excellent nominations.